The Morning After Memphis

UH 35 - MEMPHIS 34 10 WIN,S 0 LOSSES, 0 TIES NOVEMBER 15, 2015

UH 35 – MEMPHIS 34
NOVEMBER 15, 2015

It was the greatest Cougar game some of us have ever seen – and some us go back to the earliest times that the University of Houston first dressed out in pads and helmets to take on the world of college football. As a lifetime Cougar, whose fandom era roughly covers the entire period of our involvement in the sport itself, that head over heels endorsement of last night’s coronary cashier is not intended as any fading appreciation of the 1967, 37-7, conquest of Michigan State at their house – nor does it lessen the joy that remains in our hearts every time we sip again upon the memory cocktail of that 1976, 30-0, beautiful autumn day defeat of Texas in Austin during our first year in the Southwest Conference. Those were iconic milestone games for UH.  Last night achieves a special place of greatness on several levels because of its timing in UH football history.

  1. The Needs of the Great Big Now. We needed to show the rest of the college football world that we could win the big game with all of everything on the line – even if we had to do it in the dramatic comeback style we rode out on to victory behind the Mighty Not-so-Much-of-a-Mouse quarterback we all now know as Kyle Postma . We fans were the ones busy humming “here he comes to save the day!” Postma was far too busy making improbable plays and erasing the smirks that had begun to hover under those Memphis blue helmets.
  2. Building a Full Impact Bond with Coach Herman. Cougar Nation needed to pack the house – not only for one game itself, but to show UH Coach Tom Herman that we really are ready to get into the trenches of action for showing our appreciation and support for everything he is doing for us in our determined commitment. – We need for him patiently to believe in us as much as we believe in him and what he is now doing for the University of Houston. We are still not going to get 42,000 people out there next week, no matter how much we’re winning, if the next foe is “Southern,” but,, as more name schools like Oklahoma begin to appear on our UH schedule, the more regularly sellouts are going to increase for home games at TDECU Stadium..
  3. Solidifly the support of UH Leadership. We want our regents and fund-raising  leaders to know that last night’s SRO crowd also says that we expect them to come through with a plan for incrementally increasing Coach Herman’s annul salary and benefits so that he will think longer than five minutes about leaving UH for “money alone” and “the future of my family.” If it’s just about money, it doesn’t work. We need our coach to feel a bond with UH as Coach Yeoman once did. We didn’t lose Coach Yeoman to another rich school because they had a bad year. Our coach had become a member of  the Cougar Nation family by the time that those earlier referenced Michigan State and Texas games came along.
  4. Curing Fan Negativity. Last night was a big help to all of us Cougar fans who are old enough to remember the Notre Dame 1979 Cotton Bowl win over our Cougars. That disaster – and the 1984 Phi Slamma Jama choke in the finals of the NCAA basketball tournament – are responsible for most of the fan belief that these disappointments were a sign of UH’s participation in the so-called “City of Houston Sports Team Curse.” – We weren’t cursed last night. In fact, the bottom line numbers on UH’s comeback win over Memphis last night were identical, in reverse, to the numbers put up by Notre Dame and UH in the January 1, 1979 Cotton Bowl.
  5. The ND>UH/UH>Memphis Ironies:

In 1979, UH led ND, 34-14, with 7:30 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Last night, Memphis led UH, 34-14, with 14:51 left in the 4th quarter.

In 1979, ND came back to defeat UH, 35-34, on a touchdown pass by Joe Montana, followed by the extra point that came on the last play of the game. Last night, UH scored on a 7-yard run by QB Postma with 1:27 left in the 4th quarter to give UH a 35-34 lead that also would hold up as the final score.

42,159 Fans Filled TDECU Stadium to Overflowing th see the UH Memphis Game. November 14, 2015

42,159 Fans Filled TDECU Stadium to Overflowing to see the incredible and exciting UH-Memphis Game.
November 14, 2015

Family Note: When Memphis took that 34-14 lead early in the 4th quarter, my wife Norma “suggested” that we leave early to get out of the cold and beat the traffic. Our grown son Casey and I vetoed that “suggestion” with the rationale that it was far too early to give up. Because nether were with me at the time, I quickly advised them of the 1979 Cotton Bowl scenario, adding that “the temperature that day was a little cooler than a breezy 62 degrees. – It was -8 degrees and even the seats that were unoccupied were covered with ice. I even made this bold prediction to both of them: “We’ve got time and – this time – the Cougars are going to win the game, 35-34!”

Sweet Norma and me Memphis@UH Game November 14, 2015

Sweet Norma and me
Memphis@UH Game
November 14, 2015

After the thrill ride that followed in celebration on the field and in the stands, and I included that potentially game-winning field goal try by Memphis with two seconds left that went right by about one-foot only as part of the adrenaline-pumper, we all went into joyful shouts and hand slaps with every over member of the pandemonium patrol. There is no curse at UH. – There never was. – And never will be. – The only curse that can really stop any of us – is not to believe in the possible!

When we finally all settled down some before our crowded exodus, I had one more thing to say to Mama, but I said it with a joyful smile: “Norma,” I said, “now that the miracle has hatched, I have to tell you, – if we had left the game at the point of being down 34-14, and missed everything we just saw and were a part of – I would have never forgiven you – or myself – for listening to you!





4 Responses to “The Morning After Memphis”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:


    Donald King, my friend from Pearland and a fellow UH graduate who sat in the second row of the upper deck, wrote me an email saying, “I probably turned the game around when I yelled to the crowd at the start of the 4th quarter, ‘DON’T FORGET THE GAME AGAINST PITT LAST YEAR IN THE ARMED FORCES BOWL!'”

    Actually, the game was played on January 2nd of this year, but who’s counting? 35-34 is all that matters. You and he can share credit for the miraculous win.

  2. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Received by E-Mail from Richard Coselli:

    “Great Article by a great Cougar friend and fan. Bill I had the pleasure of sitting with our legendary former Coach Bill Yeoman on Saturday night. He never gave up. I think he was more excited about the game ending than I, if that is possible.”

    Go Coogs!!!!!

  3. Mike Mulvihill Says:

    ” It ain’t over till it’s over.” Great piece Bill and I’m sure you were thrilled. As an old season ticket holder for about 20 years, I remember many such games in the Yoeman era. Took years of great play to finally get the credit they deserved.
    Good comeback also for my OSU Cowboys. Both teams never quit.

  4. Mike McCully Says:

    Hi Bill and Norma. Wish that either we had known you were going to be at the game or you knew we were there. Jannelle and I were there with Bobby, our grandson Robert, and Robert’s cousin Ben. At first Memphis was playing better ball, but what a great game it turned out to be! Jannelle summed up well the lesson from this game: Never give up!

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